I have built a house, in my dreams. It is small, cozy, intimate, magical, whimsical – a cottage.
This is a Moody cottage, one of thirty or so “pixie houses” built in Los Angeles in the ’30s and ’40s by the four Moody sisters, who pooled their talents on these projects. Photo by Ricardo de Aratanha, LATimes. See the story and enchanting photo slideshow about Moody cottages here.
It is surrounded by lush plants and flowers – tea roses, morning glory, irises – in a garden that turns misty after a summer rain.
In my cottage, white lace curtains frame the view of sun and sky. They flutter in the wind that blows in through the open shutters.
The interior is filled with familiar old furniture, polished to a warm patina by the years. Hand-stitched quilts – earth tones of tan, brown, rust, olive, and orange in winter, pastels of pink, lavender, blue, and sunny yellow in summer – are draped over the backs of couches and chairs.
Embroidered and framed samplers hang on the walls beside watercolors and paintings and vintage black-and-white photographs. Books line the shelves.
There are fresh flowers from the garden on the fireplace mantel and on the sideboard in the dining room, pink and red roses in a goldfish bowl and white lilies in an antique vase.
The kitchen is cheerful and welcoming and smells like apple pie, all cinnamon-y and nutmeg in a flaky baked pastry crust. I offer you a slice on a bright blue Fiesta ware plate and we sit at the white enamel kitchen table and perch on stools and eat and talk in a room flooded with sunlight.
When evening comes we sit in the living room in front of a crackling fire. A scented candle on the coffee table throws off a vanilla aroma. You read or strum a guitar with nimble fingers and sing to me while I needle in a leaf pattern with dense rows of satin stitches or pen a letter on creamy notepaper, drawing the inkwell closer to dip my nib.
We talk about the books we have read and not read and the stories and songs we have written and have yet to write.
And when night falls we lay our heads on pillows strewn with rose petals, snuggle under more quilts to keep toasty warm, and kiss each other good night.
And the cottage creaks and sighs as old ones do, as it watches over us while we dream and yet again dream, now and in the years to come.